There is an irreducible difference between the world and our experience of it.

We as human beings do not operate directly on the world. Each of us creates a representation of the world in which we live - that is, we create a map or model which we use to generate our behavior. Our representation of the world determines to a large degree what our experience of the world will be, how we will perceive the world, what choices we will see available to us as we live in the world. Neurological Constraints.We perceive only a portion of a continuous physical phenomenon as determined by our genetically given neurological limitations (i.e the 5 senses). Our nervous system, then, constitutes the first set of filters which distinguish the world - the territory - from our representations of the world the map. Social Constraints. Perhaps the most commonly recognized social genetic filter is our language system. Our experience has been that, when people come to us in therapy, they typically come with pain, feeling themselves paralyzed, experiencing no choices or freedom of action in their lives. What we have found is not that the world is too limited or that there are no choices, but that these people block themselves from seeing those options and possibilitiesthat are open to them since they are not available in their models o f their world. Almost every human being in our culture in his life cycle has a number of periods o f change and transition which he must negotiate. Different forms of psychotherapy have developed various categories for these important transition-crisis points. What's peculiar is that some people are able to negotiate these periods of change with little difficulty, experiencing these periods as times of intense energy and creativity. Other people, faced with the same challenges, experience these periods a times of dread and pain periods to be endured, when their primary concern is simple survival. The difference between these two groups appears to us to be primarily that the people who respond creatively to and cope effectively with this stress are people who have a rich representation or model o f their situation, one in which they perceive a wide range of options in choosing their actions. The other people experience themselves as having few options, none of which are attractive to them - the "natural loser" game. The question for us is: How is it possible for different human beings faced with the same world to have such different experiences? Our understanding is that this difference follows primarily from

making the best choices from those o f which they are aware. A second mechanism which we can use either to cope effectively or to defeat ourselves is Deletion. and complex world? In coming to understand how it is that some people continue to cause themselves pain and anguish. We can identify three general mechanisms by which we do this: Generalization. but that they do not have enough choices . no matter how bizarre it may first appear to be. and Distortion. Deletion. Thus.' The difficulty is not that they are making the wrong choice. They are. that is. therefore. Generalization is the process by which elements or pieces of a person's model become detached from their original experience and come to represent the entire category o f which the experience is an example. crazy. Our ability to generalize is essential to coping with the world. Deletion is a process by which we selectively pay attention to certain dimensions of our experience and exclude others. the question becomes: How is it possible for human beings to maintain an impoverished model which causes them pain in the face of a multi-valued. to refuse to be in the same room with one is to limit unnecessarily our movement in the world. rich. human beings' behavior.our ability to manipulate symbols. change. So the processes which allow us to accomplish the most extraordinary and unique human activities are the same processes which block our further growth if we commit the error of mistaking the model for the reality. in fact. it has been important for us to realize that they are not bad. to create models. the best choices available in their own particular model. For example. and experience joy are the same processes which allow us to maintain an impoverished model of the world . In other words. Distortion is the process which allows us to make shifts in our experience of . The most pervasive paradox of the human condition which we see i s that the processes which allow us to survive.differences in the richness of their models. makes sense when it is seen in the context of the choices generated by their model. or sick. that is. But to generalize this experience to a perception that stoves are dangerous and. it is useful for us to be able to generalize from the experience of being burned when we touch a hot stove to a rule that hot stoves are not to be touched. grow.they don't have a richly focused image of the world.

The same principles of structure are operating in each of these systems. we can intuitively make the distinction between what is well formed in English and what is not. The nervous system which is responsible for producing the representational system of language is the same nervous system by which human's produce every other model of the world . allows us to prepare for experiences which we may have before they occur. (5) Contain no verbs incompletely specified. Deletion. the rules o f representation themselves: Generalization. The Deep Structure is the fullest linguistic representation of the world. "Pat loves Chris" and "Chris is loved by Pat" are two sentences that represent distinct surface forms that derive from a common deep structure.i.sensory data. we can consistently distinguish between groups of words which are well formed . for example. and Distortion. (3) Contain no nominalizations (process-event). (4) Contain no words or phrases lacking referential indices. The reference structure for the Deep Structure is the sum total of all of the client's experiences of the world. (6) Contain no unexplored presuppositions in the portion of the model in which the client experiences no choice. This set. That is. Each sentence can be represented as having a Surface and a Deep Structure. As native speakers. What we are proposing here is that there is a subset of the well-formed sentences of English which we recognize as well formed in therapy. the set of sentences which are well formed in therapy and acceptable to us as therapists.. The processes which specify what happens between the Deep Structure and the Surface Structure are the three universal processes of human modeling. but it is not the world itself. are sentences which: (1) Are well formed in English. The Deep Structure is available to any native speaker by intuition. the formal principles which linguists have identified as part of the representational system called language provide an explicit approach to understanding any system of human modeling . sentences . and (2) Contain no transformational deletions or unexplored deletions in the portion o f the model in which the client experiences no choice. Thus. Fantasy. .and groups of words which are not well formed.e. The Deep Structure itself is derived from a fuller and richer source. Human language is a way of representationing the world.

If you can think of such a Surface Structure. or the piece missing from the client's verbal expression is also missing from his model. as the client begins to discuss some ongoing process in his lifethe continuing process of his deciding to avoid confronting someone about something . Clients begin the process of self-discovery and change as they begin to work to fill in the missing pieces and become actively involved in this process of self-discovery . This way of representing their experience is impoverishing in the sense that clients lose control of ongoing processes by representing them as events. T : Of what? Either the client supplies the material in his model that has been linguistically deleted and the therapist's understanding of that model becomes more complete. The therapist's ability to challenge the distorted portions of the client's model involving the representation of processes as events requires that the therapist be able to recognize nominalizations in the client's Surface Structures. One way of doing this is to ask yourself whether you can think of another well-formed sentence in English which has the same process word 'scare' and more noun arguments than the client's Surface Structure with that same verb 'scare'. One of the ways people become immobilized is to turn an ongoing process into an event. For example.(7) Contain no sentences which violate the semantic conditions of wellformedness. Linguists have identified the linguistic mechanism for turning a process into an event. The first step is for the therapist to be able to determine whether the client's Surface Structure is a complete representation of the Deep Structure.expanding themselves by expanding their model of the world. Events are things which occur at one point in time and are finished. their outcomes are fixed and nothing can be done to change them.he may represent this process in his Surface Structure by the . Once they occur. The therapist now checks his (or her) intuitions to determine whether the client's Surface Structure is complete. The therapist can now ask for the piece that has been linguistically deleted: C: I'm scared. This is called nominalization. then the client's Surface Structure is incomplete. The client says: 'I'm scared'.

These are the universal processes of human modeling . the client experiences pain by having created an impoverished representation of the world and forgetting that the representation is not the world.thus.phrase my decision: 'I really regret my decision'. In other words. Eg.the way that people create any representation of their experience. The therapists' purpose is to obtain a clear and focused image of the client's model. The task of the therapist is to help the client see that what he has represented in his model as a closed. These are the three features which are common to all human modeling processes: Deletion. Correspondingly. finished event is an ongoing process which may be influenced by him. Distortion. and Generalization. checking for distortions. identifies the noun decision as being similar in appearance/sound and meaning to the process word decide . The therapist. (No referential index) T: Who.: C: I'm scared. Challenging Generalizations The demand by the therapist for full Deep Structure representations which include only words and phrases which have referential indices is a demand that the client re-connect his generalizations with the experience from which they came. Deep Structures are fullest linguistic representations of the client's experience. They may differ from that experience in a number of ways which are already familiar to you. The processes by which people impoverish their representation of the world are the same processes by which they impoverish their expression of their representation of the world. then. specifically? . The basic principle here is that people end up in pain. the strategy that we as therapists adopt is to connect the client with the world in some way which gives him a richer set of choices.the full linguistic representation. but because their representation of the world is impoverished. The therapist has succeeded in involving the client in recovering the Deep Structure . The next step is to challenge that Deep Structure in such a way as to enrich it. a nominalization. T : Of what? C: Of people. not because the world is not rich enough to allow them to satisfy their needs. The therapist has a number of choices at this point.

it's that person's model which prevents it. It's impossible for me to trust people.what. The answer to this question by the client is a new Surface Structure which the therapist now examines for completeness and clarity.he seems to be blocked. they necessarily select and represent certain portions of the world and fail to select and represent others. Typically. The therapist continues to examine the Surface Structures generated by the client. We have identified a number o f questions which are useful in assisting the client in expanding his model. asking himself whether all the portions of the full Deep Structure representation are reflected in that Surface Structure. stuck. we ask: What is it that stops you from trusting people? . The therapist asks the client to focus his image by the question: T: How does your father scare you? This is again a request by the therapist for the client to connect his generalization to the experience from which it was derived. since we as therapists know that either we ourselves have been able to trust others or we know someone who has succeeded in trusting someone else. they often say things such as: I can't trust people. we are aware that the world is rich enough to allow the client t o come to trust people . Now. When clients approach the limits of their models. specifically. doomed . recovering the Deep Structure and challenging the Deep Structure for generalizations which make the model unfocused and incompletely specified until the image that the therapist has of the client's model is clear. Challenging Deletions When human beings create their linguistic models of the world. but how. We know that the client is scared and that his father scares him. That is. an area in which an impoverishing deletion has occurred is one in which the client's perception of his potential is limited . exactly. The question for us then becomes: How is it that some people are able t o trust others but our client is not? We get this directly by asking the client to explain the difference in his model which makes this impossible. is it that he does which scares him.C: My father scares me. his father scares him is incompletely represented .

therefore. There are a number of ways in which the Deep Structure may be distorted from the world in such a way as to create pain. The purpose o f guided fantasy is to create an experience for the client which. Guided Fantasy. ? is crucial in re-connecting the client to his experience in such a way as to give him access to material which was formerly deleted and. in which any response by the client . the sentence is said to be semantically ill-formed and unacceptable. is not possible for one human being to create an emotion in another human being .The act itself does not cause the emotion. Linguists have identified certain expressions semantically ill-formed.or What would happen if you trusted people? The use o f the question: What stops you from. Challenging Distortion By distortion. once the client has successfully generated reference structures which contradict the generalization in his model.. at least in part if not in its entirety. we refer to things which are represented in the client's model but are twisted in some way which limits his ability to act and increases his potential for pain. literally. rather. imposed upon the client by the therapist. Therapeutic Double Binds. The semantic ill. and the problems that were a result of the generalization also disappear or are reduced. is different from the person experiencing the anger. One way in which people distort their model and cause themselves pain is by assigning outside of their control responsibilities which are within their control.formedness of sentences of this type arises because it. By therapeutic double binds we mean situations. has not been previously represented in his model. Often. not represented in his model. the generalization disappears. For example: My husband makes me mad. the emotion is a response generated from a model in which the client takes no responsibility for experiences which he could control. When the first person. Guided fantasy is the creation of a new reference structure or experience in which one achieves that which was formerly not possible.. the one doing the causing.

therapeutic double binds implicitly challenge the client's model by forcing him into an experience which contradicts the impoverishing limitations of his model. auditory. which lies outside the client's model of the world. In order to identify which representational system a person is using. Thus. kinesthetic. each person will map it according to their own representational system. More specifically. we will succed either in causing ourselves pain or in giving ourselves new choices. The man touched the damp floor. if the therapist is able to determine the client's most highly valued representational system other than kinesthetic (in . Eg. a client states that she has a severe headache.will be an experience. faced with the same experience. they also base their communication on them. living and growing process in our lives. One very powerful choice which the therapist has is to have her shift representational systems. Each person utilises a different representational system as preferential: visual. Comments such as 'I see what you're saying' are most often communicated by people wno organize their world primarily with pictures. That is why. (kinesthetic). In the case of a headache (kinesthetic) . This contradictory experience then comes to serve as a reference structure which expands the client's model of the world. For example. She saw the purple pijamas clearly (visual). olfactory. These are people whose most highly valued representational system is visual and they are literaly 'making pictures' out of what they hear. The way that each of us represents our experience will either cause us pain or allow us an exciting. adjective. adverb) the person uses to describe their experience. if we choose (consciously or not) to represent certain kinds of experiences in one or another of our representational systems. The outcome of this shift o f representational system is assisting the client in representing her experience in a representational system in which she will not cause herself pain. in describing their experiences are quite literal. Most people. or reference structure. Humans not only represent their exeriences by different representational systems. the therapist needs only to pay attention to the predicates (verb. This is equivalent to the client's informing the therapist that she has represented some specific experience kinesthetically in a way which is causing her pain.

and will occur in a form with which the client can better cope. the therapist assists the client in switching an experience from the representational system which is causing pain into one which will not result in pain .this case the visual). then the therapist will be able to assist the client in remapping (or re-coding or re-presenting) the experience which is causing him pain from the kinesthetic system to another highly valued representational system. . In other words.

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